Cynthia Boyer

Document Type



The death penalty raises serious questions regarding the unequal and arbitrary application of the law since the death penalty exceeds the threshold of law and relates to arguments beyond it, among which there are several fundamental political elements. The advent of the neoliberal revival of the 1970s, first as a new ideology emphasizing the value of free market competition and then as a policy model and practice of government, has had a significant impact on the consideration of individuals within society. The Lockett v. Ohio rulingis part of this particular context, setting the stage for the societal mutation toward a new approach to society featuring a revaluation of the individual and his or her fundamental freedoms within a certain consensus outlined by the Supreme Court in the Lockett case law and its legacy. Crime analysis has shifted from the circumstances to the criminal, establishing a difficult balance between aggravated circumstances and mitigating factors. Still, the arbitrary aspect of mitigating factors has divided the Court and led to politics and law interfering though the popular accountability of elected judges.